LeT operative Lakhvi’s plea against 26/11 indictment rejected

December 3rd, 2009 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Rawalpindi, Dec 3 (IANS) Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who has been named the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, on Thursday failed to get a reprieve from the Lahore High Court, which rejected his two petitions challenging his indictment in the carnage.
While disposing of the petitions, the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court directed the Anti-Terrorism Court to consider Lakhvi’s objections against his indictment under provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. The Anti-Terrorism Court had formally charged him along with six other suspects last month with involvement in the 26/11 strikes.

Lakhvi’s lawyer Sultan Ahmed claimed during the hearing that the prosecution did not have any incriminating evidence against him, Online news agency reported.

He also said the statement given to the Indian authorities by Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist among ten captured alive in Mumbai, was not admissible in the Anti-Terrorism Court.

However, the judges told Ahmed that such issues could be addressed only when the evidence, including Kasab’s statement, is presented during the trial in the Anti-Terrorism Court. It was not possible for such matters to be addressed now, they added.

Lakhvi’s counsel filed the petitions, challenging his indictment on Wednesday.

Lakhvi was Nov 25 indicted along with six other suspects for planning and helping execute the attacks that killed 166 people in India’s financial hub.

In one petition, Lakhvi claimed there was no evidence and no witnesses against him except Kasab and five policemen involved in a case registered in Pakistan.

The policemen, counsel said, had only described Lakhvi as a commander of the LeT and accused him of training people for terrorist activities.

Lakhvi pointed out that witnesses had not said anything about his involvement in the Mumbai attacks. He also claimed that Kasab’s statement to Indian authorities is not admissible in a case registered in Islamabad.

In the second petition, Lakhvi challenged the Anti-Terrorism Court’s decision to try Kasab separately under provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.

He claimed these provisions can be applied only when a co-accused cannot appear in court due to illness or other reasons.

Lakhvi claimed the prosecution had not stated any reason for Kasab’s absence from the Pakistani court.

Lakhvi was formally indicted along with Zarar Shah, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Abu al Qama, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum.

The next hearing of the case, in the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi’s high-security Adiala jail is scheduled for Saturday.

Twenty other suspects who are at large are also accused of planning and helping carry out the Mumbai attacks.

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